What’s Next For Handheld Gaming?
It wasn’t long ago that many people thought handheld gaming was in a state of constant decline. Pundits were saying that Nintendo’s 3DS sales were strong, but we’re witnessing the end of the gaming handheld. Sales of handheld consoles just weren’t quite putting up the numbers quite as impressively as their home console counterparts. For instance, the Nintendo 3DS, including all of its different models, has sold to date a solid 75.94 million units. However, compare that to the Sony Playstation 4, which has sold a mammoth 115.9 million units to date.
This all changed in 2017 when Nintendo revolutionised the handheld market with its new console, the Nintendo Switch. The Japanese giants of gaming released a console that was a hybrid machine; one which could be used as both a home console and as a handheld on the move. This struck a chord with gaming fans, who were extremely excited by the versatility of the console, and the Switch sold nearly three million units in its first month, and within a year of its release, it had sold over 14 million units worldwide. Sales were also helped by Nintendo releasing a stacked number of great first-party games on the console, including big hitters The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey and Pokemon Sword and Shield.
The outstanding sales and intense demand for the Nintendo Switch have opened up people’s expectations of what a handheld console can now be, and it has broken down technological barriers for hybrid machines going forward. One company that have now also chucked their hat into the hybrid console ring have been developers Valve, who are best known for their Half-Life game series and for owning the video game digital distribution service Steam.
They recently released their plans for a hybrid console called the Steam Deck, which is expected to come out in December 2021. The handheld console will run the Steam software on it and will, for all intents and purposes, be a handheld PC. It will also be able to be used as a desktop gaming device, thanks to its docking system. Valve themselves wouldn’t be drawn into comparisons between the Steam Deck and the Switch, and they insist that they are going after a different crowd. It’s clear that what they mean by this is that they feel there’s a market for more adult-based handheld gaming.
This is because Nintendo specifically caters to younger people and people who want a more cartoony-based gaming experience. Nintendo is all bright colours and soothing sounds, and not everyone wants that for their gaming experience. Most people that want a more grown-up experience are currently using their smartphones as a gaming device, and they have become increasingly popular for gaming on the go. Make sure to check out our best gaming phones detailed reviews, if you want to know the best smartphone we recommend for these needs.
One of the biggest markets that is currently proving popular amongst adults on the go is online gambling. Now that gambling fans can access the internet anywhere, using 4G and soon 5G on their phones, it enables them to access the casino, wherever they are in the world. Websites like ArabianBetting have cornered the market in delivering the best online casinos to those in the Arabic world, such as those gambling in Kuwait. Whether the customer is looking for slots, casino, or live dealer games, they’ve got them covered. Plus, they have all the best sign-up deals and cash-back offers, so it’s no wonder they’re so popular.
Undoubtedly then, there is an adult-based, handheld gaming market for the Steam Deck with the potential to be hugely successful, and it will be incredibly interesting to see how many units Valve manage to sell. It will be exceedingly difficult for them to take Nintendo’s handheld crown, if not impossible, but there should be enough willing buyers out there for them to both co-exist and both succeed in their own chosen markets. One thing is for sure though, it’s exciting for handheld gaming fans to be getting more variety when it comes to choosing what they want their gaming experience to be in the future.